Transvaginal Mesh Defects: Shrinkage, Degradation, Retraction, & Loss of Elasticity

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The transvaginal mesh seemed like a quick and somewhat easy fix to pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Many women were told that the net-like mesh would be implanted near the vaginal wall to support the pelvic organs and provide relief. However, rather than relief, some women ended up suffering from complications far worse than the problems the mesh was supposed to fix.

Mesh Erosion and Degradation

A number of complications are associated with vaginal mesh implants, including vaginal shrinkage or shortening, degrading of the mesh itself, the retraction of the anterior and posterior mesh, and pelvic muscles and tissues that can lose elasticity and weaken over time. Erosion and/or degradation of the mesh through the vagina wall is the most common and consistently reported mesh-related complication and, unfortunately, removal of the mesh via another surgical procedure is the only remedy for this complication. The removal surgery often becomes necessary, sometimes life-saving, because the synthetic mesh could degrade into the vagina, bladder, or bowels. The patient is left with more complications, along with the original pelvic floor issues.

Mesh Shrinkage

Originally, vaginal shrinkage mesh problems were not reported in the safety bulletin, but recently this side effect has come to light in the transvaginal mesh community. In summary, vaginal shrinkage mesh problems occur when the synthetic mesh product begins to actually shrink and pulls the tissue that it is stitched to with it. When transvaginal mesh is implanted, the mesh is attached to the muscles of the pelvic floor. When the mesh product contracts, the surrounding muscles and tissues are forced to contract. Shrinking mesh causes an assortment of problems, including actual shrinking or shortening of the vaginal cavity and vaginal pain.

Loss of Elasticity

Many physicians concur that synthetic mesh should be earmarked for patients who have had numerous failures with traditional repairs, and additionally those patients should not be sexually active. The amount of sexual activity weighs heavily in this decision-making process because the synthetic mesh can cause a loss of elasticity in the vagina, which then results in pain during sexual intercourse (also known as “dyspareunia”). The surgeon must utilize the most minimal amount of synthetic mesh material to cover as small an area as possible. When this mesh is mistakenly used in anterior and posterior compartments, a patient is at high risk of mesh contraction, vaginal shrinkage, and rigidity.

If you have suffered shrinkage, degradation, retraction, and/or loss of elasticity due to transvaginal mesh implantation or related surgeries or procedures, you should contact an attorney who specializes in transvaginal mesh litigation right away. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any out-of-pocket expenses.

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